Adriaen Coorte (active Middleburg, circa 1683-circa 1707) Three peaches on a stone ledge with a Red Admiral butterfly
Lot 58*
Adriaen Coorte (active Middleburg, circa 1683-circa 1707) Three peaches on a stone ledge with a Red Admiral butterfly
Sold for £2,057,250 (US$ 3,341,235) inc. premium

Lot Details
Adriaen Coorte (1683-1707) Three peaches on a table-top with a butterfly
Adriaen Coorte (active Middleburg, circa 1683-circa 1707)
Three peaches on a stone ledge with a Red Admiral butterfly
signed with monogram 'AC' (in ligature, on stone ledge, lower centre)
oil on paper, laid down on panel
31.3 x 23.3cm (12 5/16 x 9 3/16in).

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    In the collection of the present owner's family since at least the late 19th century

    The present, completely unrecorded painting is an interesting addition to Coorte's oeuvre. It belongs to a group of still lifes, all undated, which are signed with initials only. Compositionally this group is very close to a recently discovered painting, of 1693, which allows a dating of 1693-95 for the present work and the rest of the initialled group (see Q. Buvelot, The still lifes of Adriaen Coorte (The Hague, 2008), cat. nos. 14-17). In all of these works, the table appears narrower than in other paintings and with little or nothing revealed of the base beneath. The table also occupies all or, in this case, almost all of the entire width of the composition.

    The artist turned to the peach motif several times throughout his career although they appear alone in only three other works. He also used the butterfly in other paintings of this period (see for example Still life with a peach and two apricots on a stone ledge, together with two butterflies of 1692 sold at Sotheby's, Amsterdam, 1 December 2009, lot 55, sold for 1,576,750 Euros). He appears to have used the butterfly as a compositional device to punctuate the background and to create a balance to the fruit.

    The majority of Coorte's works, as with this picture, are painted directly on to paper and then pasted on to panel (or occasionally canvas). It is not clear at what stage this transfer to another support was made and also whether it was done by the artist himself or at a later date by someone else. This technique was so unusual in the 17th and 18th centuries that it must have been a particular choice of the artist. It has been suggested that it formed part of his working method; that Coorte drew directly on to the paper and then worked in paint on top (which may account for the complete lack of drawings known to be by him). Two instances are known where the artist re-used paper that had previously been written on, for example a Still life of peaches and a butterfly of circa 1693-5, now in a private collection, was discovered to have been painted on a sheet of paper taken from the account book of a merchant trading in Gdansk in the early 17th Century.

    We are grateful to both Dr. Quentin Buvelot and Fred Meijer of the RKD for kindly confirming the attribution to Coorte, on the basis of a digital photograph.

Saleroom notices

  • Please note that the butterfly depicted in the present painting is not a Red Admiral but is in fact a Painted Lady.
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